Milan, Italy

Tuesday, June 26, 218

A full day stopover in Milan turned out to be a fabulous idea!  We spent 3 nights in Lake Como, had to check out by 10 AM, then caught an 8:40 PM night train from Milan to Vienna.  Our morning started with a train from Varenna to Milan, which surprisingly, was mostly on time.

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An hour later, we were in Milan, where stored our bags near the station for the day (we debated between the station’s baggage service and a private locker a block away; neither were particularly cheap. oh well).  After they were locked away, we hopped on the subway for the Duomo and spent some time wandering in the Piazza Duomo, near the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

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The Duomo was amazing!  I love the intricate Gothic style with the steep spires and over the top detail.

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The number of detailed stone carvings was incredible.

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Upon entry, one would think that the stone carvers expended all of their energy on the outside and wouldn’t have had time to do much on the inside, but that person would be wrong.  The inside was just as elaborate as the outside.

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The tall pillars and the lines of the cathedral were quite interesting.

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I particularly enjoyed the stained glass.  Each window had many panels, where each panel would tell a part of a story.  I spent a long time simply studying the windows.

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At the front of the cathedral was a statue of Mary, which is a copy of the gold gilded one on top of the building.

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Our ticket for the Duomo also included the museum, so we went over, not expecting a lot.  We ended up being quite impressed!  There isn’t a lot written, even in Italian, so you need to use your imagination for a lot of it.  The boy were particularly entranced by the section on gargoyles.

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We also saw a huge wooden model of the cathedral that we are guessing was the working model.

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Another highlight was a section showing multiple copies of the same statue.  The limited text on those seemed to indicate that they were the “entrance exam” for stone carvers who wanted to work on the cathedral.  Makes sense.  I wonder how many workers it took to produce this cathedral.

Otherwise, the museum had a bunch of cool artifacts from the cathedral decor and other cathedral related stuff.

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When we were done, we went to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and had our last lunch in Italy.  The pizza was quite delicious!  Mine had a local ham, something that tasted a bit like arugula, and some shavings of fresh parmesan.

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We consulted our guidebook while eating, and found that the Sforza Castle had free admission after 2:00 on Tuesdays, so we decided to take a stroll in that direction. We stopped at an interesting church called San Maurizio along the way. Unfortunately, once we arrived, we learned that the guide book was outdated and this was no longer true.  That said, we decided to go anyway, since it wasn’t too expensive, and the kids were free.

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The castle turned out to be fairly interesting!  John was particularly excited about the armory, and it didn’t disappoint.  Lots of knight suits, swords, guns, and other weapons.  He was quite happy after being disappointed by other museums we have gone to.  The music section was also quite good, as were most of the other sections.  Definitely worth a stop!

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Once we left the castle, we wandered through the adjoining park, stopping to enjoy some refreshments and relax.

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There was a bunch of workout equipment scattered through the park and the boys enjoyed watching the high schoolers do pushups, bar routines, and more.  A fun place to relax and refresh our energy.

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We wandered back to the Piazza Duomo, as the boys insisted that they saw an amazing gelateria that they wanted to go to.  Unfortunately, when we got there, everyone else seemed to agree with them and the tables were packed and there was a line out the door.  The boys decided that if they didn’t get to sit in the restaurant, somewhere else would be more pleasant, so we found a place that had benches nearby and got some gelato from there.

It was getting close to time to head out to the train station, so we opted to take the 40 minute walk there and see what some of the neighborhoods looked like.  Quite fun.

At the train station we discovered our train would be 30 minutes late, so spent some time trying to fix the wheels on one of our suitcases.  Some of the spacers broke off, the wheels would tip sideways, and they wouldn’t always roll.  It’s still half-workable, but when it gets in the wrong position, it’s like try to drag a stack of bricks.  I tried tying some string in the space, but the piece I had wasn’t long enough to put any support.  Hopefully I will be able to figure something out at our next stop.  Maybe I will try a piece of our laundry rope.

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